MMS Meeting

MMS Meeting

June 10, 2024 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Graduate Scholarship Winners Presentations #2:

Our June 10th meeting will be shared remotely via Zoom.

The Minnesota Mycological Society (MMS) is continuing our scholarship program for University of Minnesota or University of Wisconsin students (any campus location) currently enrolled in graduate level studies with an emphasis on mycology. Each year the MMS gives away monetary scholarships to graduate students at the University of MN and University of Wisconsin.

Come check out these presentations highlighting their graduate thesis topics!

Speaker 1: Colin Peters

Native Entomopathogenic Fungi (insect pathogens) Found to be Associated with Emerald Ash Borer in Minnesota

Entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) are those that are capable of infecting and killing insects. EPF have recently come to the forefront of popular discussion, but are generally cast in a fearful light. These insect pathogens, however, could be a useful tool for managing destructive forest pests like the emerald ash borer (EAB). Several species of EPF have been found to associate with EAB in Minnesota, and some show good potential at killing the insect. Colin Peters is working to characterize the virulence of these fungi against the invasive EAB, and to develop field application methods for the deployment of these fungi as a means of biological control to slow the spread of the beetle across Minnesota. Here is a recent article about this project:

Colin Peters is a second-year Masters student at the University of Minnesota, where he is advised by Dr. Robert Blanchette. He received a Bachelors in Plant Science from the University of Minnesota in 2019. After completing his undergrad, Peters spent a year in the Conservation Corps and worked in tree care before returning to school. He is an avid forager of wild mushrooms and has been a member of MMS since 2023.

Speaker 2: Nickolas Rajtar

Biosurveillance of Invasive Forest Pathogens in Minnesota

Nick Rajtar is a PhD candidate in the Department of Plant Pathology at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He is a mycologist and forest pathologist who is advised by Professor Robert Blanchette. Nick has studied fungi associated with the emerald ash borer focusing on canker causing fungi associated with the beetle and their potential to contribute to the mortality of ash trees. His current work is on the biosurveillance of invasive forest pathogens; this includes Heterobasidion irregulare, Phytophthora species and other invasive pathogens.

Historically invasive forest pathogens like Chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica) and Dutch elm disease (Ophiostoma novo-ulmi) have caused large economic losses and devastation to the landscape/ecosystem. Early detection of invasive forest pathogens is key for mitigating the environmental and economic losses associated with these pathogens. Over the past four years, we have successfully detected several species of forest pathogens in Minnesota including Phytophthora, and Heterobasidion irregulare. To date we have found 14 new to the state species of Phytophthora and identified potential infection centers of Heterobasidion in southeastern Minnesota. This presentation will detail the methods and results of our biosurveillance findings from 2020 to 2023 and describe future plans for detecting and mitigating threats to our urban and natural forests.

Presentations are recorded and posted a few days later on the MMS YouTube channel.

This meeting is free and open to the public. Members receive Zoom links on meeting announcements and reminders. Also, anyone can click on the button below and provide their contact info to be sent the Zoom link for this meeting.

If you haven’t used Zoom before and don’t want to miss anything, you may want to click on the meeting link to download Zoom and familiarize yourself with it at least 15 minutes prior to the meeting.

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